By Simon Abaho
Government has confirmed the country has received 51 evacuees from Afghanistan today morning who have been received at Entebbe Airport.
The Afghan refugees arrived at Entebbe International Airport aboard a privileged charted flight, after days of discussion.
The first group of refugees after arrival was seen checking at Imperial Resort Beach Entebbe.
The latest developments come a day after evacuations in Kabul were temporarily halted due to overcrowding at an evacuee receiving center in Qatar.
Ugandan officials say the hosting of Afghan refugees follows a request by US government and subsequent acceptance by Ugandan authorities to temporarily host at-risk Afghan Nationals and other Nationals who are in transit to the United States of America and other destinations.
Uganda says the decision to host those in need is informed by the country’s consistent policy of receiving refugees and persons in distress as well as playing a responsible role in matters of international concern.
The refugees who include men, women and children underwent the necessary security screening as well as mandatory Covid-19 testing and the required quarantine protocols.
Foreign Affairs says the arrangements to have Ugandan nationals travel with Afghan refugees were frustrated by the challenges of accessing the airport in Kabul.
Officials said arrangements are being made to bring them in the subsequent flight.
Earlier this week, Esther Anyakun, deputy minister for disaster preparedness and refugees said Uganda would accept up to 2,000 Afghan refugees, but other officials said at that time the matter was still under discussion.
Appearing on a local radio show Saturday morning, Uganda’s Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Hillary Onek, explained that those arriving from Afghanistan are mainly women and children.
He said they won’t stay in Uganda forever, adding that the East African country will be used as a transit point before they are taken to the United States.
Minister Onek said officials have already booked hotels in the city of Entebbe, where the 145 evacuees will stay.
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